Initial Timeline: 24 hours
Role: User Researcher, Designer
Team: 4 people
Tools: HTML/CSS, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
nwHacks 2018 is Western Canada's biggest hackathon.
My team's goal at this event was to build a social app. We built a responsive web application that connects people who are self-conscious about dining out alone.
The app originally displays restaurants on a map and in a search list, but was later reworked to have a focus on the fellow diner. More on these decisions later!
Due to time constraints, we were not able to perform user research and user testing. However, our research on dining out alone revealed that 3/4 working Canadians see improvements in communication with colleagues after dining and "64% agree that eating lunch with colleagues at work makes their day more enjoyable". (Loblaws, 2018) We therefore decided to develop a tool to help others share meals. Not only would it help self-conscious lone eaters find companions, it would also provide positive social benefits.
In a study conducted by Lakshmi Balachandra in 2013 from Harvard Business Review revealed that “eating while deciding important matters offers profitable, measurable benefits through mutually productive discussions.”
From this research I decided that designing a tool for working professionals would be particularly beneficial for all parties participating.
Research suggested that there were an abundance of working professionals eating alone. Through understanding my target audience’s goals and traits, I shifted my focus from looking for restaurants to eat at, to looking for people to eat with.
I sketched out several wireframes to visualize and create ideas as to how we would deliver these functionalities to users.
Search for other ‘eaters’
Grid view of nearest eaters
Find other users who wish to visit a restaurant
Indicate a desire to visit a restaurant
Coordinate a meal with other users
Iteration 3 (Post Hackathon)
I focused primarily on the mobile design; the generation of working professionals targeted (mainly Y and Z) are primarily use mobile devices.
I shifted from a map search to a default grid display with a map display option in order to allow for faster decision making and scanning, The user flow changed from searching for a specific restaurant and seeing other eaters, to searching for eaters and seeing the proposed restaurant.
table for two is connected to users LinkedIn, and in order to establish trust, company and number of mutual connections are shown for each potential eater.
I chose orange due to its tendency to evoke feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth. Out of all the colours, I felt that these associated emotions were most closely aligned with Table For Two’s Goal: connecting people and creating new experiences.
At the hackathon, our project was well-received by judges and was voted as one of the top 30 projects at the event. I was able to apply my design skills in a high-pressure team environment which was really exciting.
Iterating on this project allowed me to apply concepts that I have learnt since the hackathon, and really demonstrated to me that sometimes there simply is no one size fits all solution. It was interesting to see how much the design changed once I narrowed the scope!